Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy was developed by Francine Shapiro and is a body-mind integrated therapy that has been proven to be highly effective for people who have experienced trauma. It was founded on the basis that trauma interferes with the brain’s processing and that during trauma, our brain processes and stores memories incorrectly. This incorrect storage makes it so that past events seem to be in the present. These memories can be triggered by emotions, negative cognitions, and physical sensations.
EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (eye movements, tones, or taps) to access memory networks in order to move them from a place of emotional activation to a more rational, logical place.
EMDR is an effective, evidence-based form of treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is recognized for its effectiveness by the American Psychiatric Association, the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (US), and the World Health Organization. With EMDR, it is not necessary to discuss the details of a traumatic experience.
EMDR can be used for more than just PTSD, it can be used for:
- Panic attacks and phobias
- Chronic Pain
- Substance Dependency
- Various kinds of trauma (intergenerational, developmental, etc.)
- Abuse and Assault (Physical, Emotional, and Sexual)
- Grief and loss
- Eating Disorders
EMDRIA is the international association for EMDR. It has guidelines for official trainings, reports on EMDR research, explanations of EMDR, as well as a place to look up EMDR trained therapists.
Getting Past Your Past – Francine Shapiro
This is a great book for people who aren’t mental health professionals. It has good explanations about trauma, EMDR, and techniques to use for trauma.